Better Insight, Better Design – Simulation – You Can Do it!

After many years, okay almost three decades in the industry, I’m still a firm believer that you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to do simulation. With the rise of computing power, simulation software has gotten faster and easier, since I got my PhD in Mechanical Engineering almost 30 years ago, ahem. Yes, I know I’ve been around the block a few times, but it’s been fascinating to see the technology advance to solve complex problems quickly. Back then, it could take 18 hours to solve a problem, which today can be done in under a minute.

There are many misconceptions about simulation, including the assumption you have to be a specialist to do simulation, but that’s simply not true. Designers can do simulation too! And in fact, it should be part of your workflow.

Today I want to focus on YOU, the designer, to give you the confidence to step up and give simulation a try. Raise your hand if you want to design better? That’s exactly what simulation enables you to do. Simulation lets you easily test your product’s performance before it goes to prototyping to see how it will behave in the real world. Beyond that simulation can help you reduce your environmental impact by providing guidance on materials, clash detection, and manufacturability.

Yes, it may require a few more steps, but ensuring you can make the best possible product is priceless.

I’m hoping to you convince you that simulation is not a hassle, it’s a necessity. Read on to hear my pitch, and thanks for listening in advance. P.S. I’m not a salesman.

In addition to some of the points I mentioned above, other benefits of simulation include:

  • Design guidance. The ability to perform various design studies to solve what-if scenarios so you can make better, more informed decisions.
  • Eliminates the guessing game. You have the science/mathematics to back up the decision.
  • Better design review meetings. Be prepared for your meetings and bring better insight to the table with the simulation results.
  • It also to takes the “ego” out of design. When it comes to design, I don’t suggest going with your gut.

That’s just a few of the benefits but let’s not forget the benefit of cost savings. One customer, ACO Technologies from Shefford, UK, used SOLIDWORKS CAD and SOLIDWORKS Simulation finite element analysis (FEA) software to design and simulate their curb drainage system, the KerbDrain, and reduced prototypes, saving more than $45,000 in prototype tooling costs. Read the full case study here.

SOLIDWORKS Simulation helped ACO designers understand exactly where the KerbDrain might fail under certain load conditions.


If you’re thinking about adding simulation to your design workflow or already using it, here are some pointers I have for you to consider:

  • Simulation can help you be less conservative. What I mean by that is that you need to be open to change if you want to thrive and innovate in today’s market. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard customers say, “We’ve always done it this way.” But, what if you could do it better.
  • Get a second opinion on your simulation results. Have your colleague look at your results as a sanity check. It’s always good to have a second opinion. You know the saying “two heads are better than one.” I agree.
  • Don’t be afraid to fail…virtually. We learn more from failure than success. Simulation may take some practice like learning to drive a car or playing the piano, but after a while it becomes second nature.

You do not have to be a specialist! That is a myth. To learn more about these misconceptions, read one of my last blogs here. With that I rest my case, that you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to do simulation.

I challenged you all a year ago in that blog to give simulation a try. Who’s stepped up to the plate? What do you think? Drop a line in the comments section.


In 3D Motion Creator you can view motion drivers and applied loads acting in the system in 3D during the animation and see how the value changes accordingly.


If you’re still on the fence, Dassault Systèmes offers solutions for companies of all shape and sizes including SOLIDWORKS Simulation, SIMULIA brands, and solutions on the cloud-based 3DEXPERIENCE platform in the 3DEXPERIENCE Works portfolio, including 3D Motion Creator, a fully browser-based solution for motion-based analysis.

Like I said earlier we’ve got something for everyone. Get with your reseller to learn about your options and see how you can apply simulation to your design workflow and start designing better today!

Stephen Endersby is a Director of Product Portfolio Management at Dassault Systemes SOLIDWORKS. A passionate believer in the benefits of design analysis Stephen is confident that every designer can make use structural, motion, fluid and plastics simulation tools to improve their product designs and performance. With over 15 years of experience Stephen has worked with companies of all sizes to help them overcome the many design to manufacture challenges they face. Well versed in the application of technology to deliver end user value and improve productivity, for Stephen technology changes but his desire to deliver solutions and value remains the same.